Ronchi replaces Haddin for Twenty20s
Luke Ronchi is keen to repay the faith of the Australian selectors after they confirmed he would replace Brad Haddin in the two Twenty20 internationals against South Africa. Haddin is being rested following his busy schedule over the past few months, which has included consecutive Test series against India, New Zealand and South Africa.
The decision has opened the door for Ronchi, who impressed with his batting and his excellent glovework in the Twenty20 and ODIs in the West Indies this year when Haddin flew home with a broken finger. However, Ronchi fell into a batting slump with Western Australia this season - he has made only one half-century in any format - and he said it was reassuring to be confirmed as the No. 2 gloveman in the country.
"You think about it sometimes," Ronchi said on Saturday. "Obviously after the West Indies I thought about it a bit and sometimes not performing the way you want to and you doubt yourself. For this to come up is a nice reassuring feeling and puts my mind in a good place."
Haddin is expected to return for the one-day internationals, which begin at the MCG on Friday. For now, he will enjoy a rare few days at home in Sydney with his wife and baby son Zac.
"I talked to him about it a little bit, see how he was going," Ronchi said. "I think more than anything he was quite tired and sore from the Test series. So I don't think he was overly disappointed not playing because he knew he'd have a little bit of a break and then he'd be into the ODIs.
"I don't think he's too worried about it. He obviously knows that he's number one. I'm his backup at the moment and whenever he's raring to go I'll get flicked, time to go home again."
Haddin, who became Australia's keeper following Adam Gilchrist's retirement last year, struggled with niggles during the tours of the Caribbean and India. Andrew Hilditch, the chairman of selectors, said Haddin would benefit from a short break.
"Brad arrived in Melbourne yesterday feeling the effects of his heavy workload over the past three months," Hilditch said on Saturday. "In accordance with our policy of managing the workloads of players involved in all three forms of the game, it was decided that he would benefit from not playing in the two Twenty20 internationals.
"Despite being initially selected in the squad, we wanted to assess Brad once he had arrived in Melbourne. It is the same process we employ for all players in that we assess them after they have had a chance to rest and recover immediately following a match, especially if they have been involved in a lot of cricket as Brad has been."
Haddin was not the only player being watched closely in the lead-up to Sunday's match. Michael Hussey missed practice in Melbourne on Friday because of a stomach bug but is expected to play.